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The Power of Purpose by Richard Leider (Book Review)

Richard Leider has spent much of his professional life interviewing older adults over the age of 65 and asking them about their lives. Most people, the author noted, expressed that a feeling of purpose was vitally important to them. The subjects also expressed that they would have been clearer about purpose earlier in their life if they could live it over again.

On the surface, this makes perfect sense. We all want to live for something and for our lives to have meaning. Right? But if so, then why do only 20% of employees today report feeling passionate about what they do, as thinker and writer John Hagel contends? Where's the purpose?

Leider provides some guidance about what we're missing and what may help by examining the importance of purpose in The Power of Purpose. Unlike some texts that promise to fix everything that ails us, The Power of Purpose is more like a lamp, casting light in a previously darkened room so we can see the disheveled mess for what it is.

The text continues with examples of people who have found real purpose in many different kinds of professions. What distinguishes the examples Leider cites is that the people found purpose primarily through acts of compassion and by helping others. This point resonated with me, and it felt very true, both from my own experiences as well as what I've perceived with habitually self-centered people (they're never happy).

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